On Jan. 20, 2017, the United States of America will celebrate one of its most treasured values in a grand public ceremony. A new president will place his hand on the Bible and take the oath of office.
It is a solemn, sacred and significant moment that is not really about the person being sworn in. The inauguration ceremony is actually about the most fundamental, non-negotiable value of this republic; the peaceful transfer of power subject to the will of the electorate according to a constitutionally established process.
In the more than two centuries of this nation's history, every transfer of power came by ballots, not bullets. No president ever seized power. No dictator ever came by the gun. Never in our history has some army colonel taken over the radio station and proclaimed himself "president for life." We have had our share of contentious elections, but we have never had a coup d'état.
In the inaugural celebration, the nation does not so much celebrate who the new president is but who we are as a people. It is certainly the new president who places his hand on the Bible, but it is the republic itself and its Constitution he swears to defend. In other words, whether it is Barrack Obama or Calvin Coolidge or, as is now the case, Donald J. Trump being inaugurated, the republic itself is the centerpiece of the festivities. The president is a visitor to the office and an oath-bound steward of its power.
Therefore, those who seek to de-legitimize any presidency undercut not the person so much as the constitutional process and the nation that designed it. Anarchists do what they do. One has come to expect it. Lacking sufficient vocabulary or brainpower to express themselves otherwise, they burn stuff. They are patently dismissible and therefore to be dismissed.
Likewise, Hollywood stars in search of a cause to lend meaning to their otherwise, self-absorbed and vacuous lives rant and squall like the fragile children they are. They record embarrassing videos in which they admit their emotional frailty and join the anarchists in the streets hoping to be—and probably arranging to be—caught on camera. Again, they are pathetic irrelevancies cherishing an illusion that America cares what they think. Like undisciplined toddlers having tantrums because they did not get their way, they hardly merit a rebuke, and it is hard not to laugh at their hysterics.
The word "deplorable" has enjoyed a phenomenal new celebrity in this election. I am happy for the good old word. It is a fine and functional adjective long ignored by a culture that found little deplorable. Suddenly, thanks largely to Hillary Clinton, the long-ignored word was lifted from near-anonymity to veritable star status.
Weepy Hollywood actors are not really deplorable. They are just pitiable. I cannot even bring myself to label rabid anarchists as deplorable. They seem more like anachronistic Bolsheviks desperately searching for a czar.
The deplorables, the truly reprehensible bad actors on Inauguration Day, will be those elected officials who refuse to take part in this particular inauguration. In so doing, they cannot de-legitimize Donald J. Trump. They do defame the same process by which they themselves were put in office. They were constitutionally elected and they swore to protect and defend that constitution.
To opt out of participation in this festival of the democratic process is to say publicly that their oath meant nothing. To stay home and sulk—to refuse to be a part of this celebration of republican government and the peaceful transfer of power because their candidate lost?
Now, that is deplorable.
It has been reported that some 61 members of Congress will refuse to take part in the inauguration on Friday. I am not actually sure how many deplorables fit in your average basket, but I know that's 61 more than the republic needs, and they are deplorable indeed.
Dr. Mark Rutland is president of both Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president.
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